• Published 14th Feb 2020
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Imperial Revision - The Sound of Loneliness

What would you do if you already had everything? Or everything you wanted. Her Majesty Nightmare Moon has recently discovered there is more to life than war, intrigues and edicts. Luna is trying to be helpful. She has no choice.

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Daybreaker took a look around the devastated glade.
Before it was made to bear the full extent of her frustration, it must have been quite a beautiful and peaceful place. But now the ground was scarred and black, the circle of rocks turned to rubble and glowing from the heat it was exposed to. Half a dozen trees were broken in half, or even burned to coals.
But such was her way of “venting,” as they said in this age.

The alabaster mare took a deep breath to calm herself just a tiny bit further, then started to put out the few remaining fires. It may have been tedious, but it was certainly less so than having to explain to her sister how the Everfree Forest caught fire and burned to naught in a single d...night. And burning down a few trees was still better than venting herself on an unsuspecting Guard.

Finally having her own body and still having to pose as Celestia was beyond irritating, but that was hardly the only cause for tonight’s chafe. Life at the palace had quite a list of annoyances to it, ranging from Rainbow Dash with her unending and disrupting “pranking” to Daybreaker’s own inability to gather intelligence.
She had to give Nightmare her due, she certainly knew how to keep sensitive information from falling into the wrong hooves. No one in the palace seemed to know anything aside from the bare minimum of what was needed to complete their assigned tasks.
Twilight Sparkle had to be an exception, but trying to pry her would’ve been extremely risky. If she won’t find her out immediately, Daybreker mere attempt would be soon used against her by her sister, and she was in no position to bash heads with Nightmare right now.

What would the point be anyway? Even if her sister would allow herself to slip up so critically that Daybreaker could make a use of it, it would still only be the start of a long toil. There would still the rest of the Empire to somehow take control of. The Imperial Guard alone was already posing an insurmountable threat.
As powerful as their alicorn forms were, it still took only a single good shot to quell a coup, as Luna’s example clearly demonstrated.
Overthrowing her sister was not plausible now and even if it was, surviving the process would be even harder still.
With the fires out, it was time to head back to the city and play Celestia again. The mere thought drew a deep groan from her.

Oh, how she hated pretending to be this smug, hypocritical, pampered wh...

Obeying a sudden impulse, Daybreaker tore Celestia’s golden peytral from her chest and sent it flying over the treetops and out of view. Celestia’s crown was next on the block, Daybreaker grabbed the golden hoop and was about to make it to follow the peytral, but her rational thinking returned just in time to prevent her temperament from pushing her to another shameful display.
Daybreaker eyed the golden, jewelled headwear with utter contempt but still forced herself to put it back on her head.

Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.

Now to get the stupid piece of golden scrap back.

Celestia’s jewellery felt like it was sucking any measure of self-control out of her. Perhaps she could negotiate with her sister a way to have something else for her to wear.
Maybe, if she apologized for lashing at her earlier tonight, her sister would even permit easing the conspiration a bit in favour of her personal comfort. Daybreaker focused on this pleasant idea to avoid the thoughts of smashing the finery.

She proceeded to visualize what her own crown would look like. Celestia’s tasteless, golden contraption would have to go entirely. Instead, something with practical uses would be more appropriate.
Like a crownhelm. It would be enchanted, of course, to ensure proper protection. If a decent craftspony was to be found, it shouldn’t lose much in beauty compared to… the less utilitarian jewelry.

Perhaps she could even convince her sister to get one too. Her wavy silver tiara was majestic, even if it was a little more humble than what one might expect from an empress; but if Luna’s example taught Daybreaker anything it’s that a royal figure can never have enough protection.
Actually, her sister must still have that beautiful armor made of blue steel. It must be a little too uncomfortable for everyda…night use, but she did look wonderful in it! A little modification and that old helmet could still find its way onto her head to protect her own head from any incoming projectiles.
Nightmare was even wise enough to get herself a court designer. Daybreaker had seen a few of Rarity’s designs, she would do.

Well, good sister Daybreaker it is, then. Serving her sister, as she promised, wasn't by far the worst option. Perhaps through winning Nightmare's favour, she could secure for herself at least some form of a dividend.

Having finally pushed through the thicket, Daybreaker shoved aside the branches lashing at her sides and found the plate hanging on a tree right at the Forest edge.
Well, she did mean for it to go as far away as she could throw it…

The mare gave a dreary sigh and fixed the peytral back on her chest.
Next, she proceeded to leave the forest, so she would have the room needed for a running start in order to successfully take off. Daybreaker spread her wings and took a dozen meters to accumulate momentum, then leapt into the air.
The alabaster mare proceeded to leave the forest to have the room for the running start she needed to successfully take off. Spreading her wings and taking a dozen meters to accumulate momentum, Daybreaker leapt into the air.
...And barely avoided slapping back into the dirt facefirst. Quietly cursing, the mare quickly retreated back under the treeline.

She stood perfectly still and did her best to not attract any attention, hoping that the cursed bird didn’t see her. Another one of Celestia’s leftovers that wouldn’t stop clawing at her back, Philomena sat still on one of the upper branches of a lonely tree along the road to Ponyville train station.

Daybreaker felt anger filling her up again. Celestia simply couldn’t get herself a regular bird! She just had to have a phoenix!
If the damn bird hadn’t pieced everything together already, she definitely would if she saw what her supposed owner just did to the Forest.
Luckily, the phoenix didn’t bother to check on her in the palace, for now, so there could be a chance the Bearers didn’t know yet. Actually… maybe she could simply get rid of the bird.

Daybreaker grinned from ear to ear at the thought, taking a step forward. Hitting this quillmaker's dream from such a distance would be quite a feat, but she couldn’t take risks now. The bird wouldn’t suspect anything if the mare casually walked up to her, maybe she would even fly closer herself if she saw her “owner” coming her way…

The grin instantly disappeared as Daybreaker looked under the tree. There was a pony there—she couldn’t make out who exactly, but it wouldn’t be much a stretch to say it was the shy one. The one who talked to animals. No way of killing the bird, for now, her sister would not tolerate Fluttershy harmed. Daybreaker backed off into the forest again. Nothing remained to do now but watch, perhaps there was a reason for those two to be out there.

Daybreaker noticed another pony trotting out of the town and quickly approaching the tree. Both ponies proceeded to have a conversation, and curiously, Philomena herself joined in by swooping down from her high post and landing on the newly arrived pony’s back. Must be one of her friends. With Rarity and Sparkle now residing in the palace and Fluttershy’s famous antisocial tendencies, the list narrowed down by a margin.
Sadly, she couldn’t listen in on what they spoke of. Unless...

Daybreaker bit her tongue, beginning to weave a spell. Another thing she’d inherited from Celestia, and this time, it was quite helpful. This was Celestia’s secret weapon…the ability to enchant an object to act as another one of her ears.
This thing was beyond useful, as Daybreaker had discovered time and time again when the Princess of The Sun made herself aware of even the most private conversations of her enemies. But even more important, her friends.

“Can’t we just talk about it again?” a rather high pitched, but undoubtedly male voice queried in Daybreaker’s head. An unfamiliar one too, mmm...

“Cree!” Philomena approvingly screeched. Daybreaker rolled her eyes and snarled in irritation. She had almost forgotten how much she hated the bird’s voice by this point.

“You know, you don’t have to do this! Mother isn’t stupid, she won’t risk returning to the dungeon,” the male voice continued. “Let’s just go back to the Castle. She must have lashed out before she knew what she was doing. Her Majesty would not allow Mother to hurt us.”

Daybreaker mentally thanked Celestia for inventing such a useful spell. An opportunity to eavesdrop on anything related to her dear sister—let alone one of her secrets—was an unexpected, but exquisite pleasure!
There was something…wrong, though. A constant sound, like a buzz, frequented in the background. It was very subtle…barely noticeable…but still audible. It looked like Philomena had noticed it too, as she was wildly swinging her head around to the source of the sound.
And as the source became closer, the pair noticed it too. Then, the sound abruptly disappeared.

“Cree!” Philomena sounded a warning, taking flight just in time to avoid the approaching missile. Daybreaker heard two separate grunts as both ponies were pinned to the ground.

“Got you, traitorous scum!” Daybreaker's ear met with a rumbling hiss.

“Mother, please--” the stallion was immediately silenced by a loud hiss and a slap on the face, if Daybreaker interpreted the sound correctly.

“Silence, filth! Don’t you dare to speak to me! Do you have a single idea what you two have cost me?!”
Daybreaker, with no small surprise, recognized the voice; the intonation patterns and pitch confirmed it to be no other than Queen Chrysalis. She gave a dreary sigh at this new display of Nightmare’s weakness. The two of them needed to have a talk about this.

“I will enjoy choking the life out of you!” Chrysalis barked. Daybreaker produced a chuckle. Family dramas were always fun to observe.

“Mother, it doesn’t have to be like this!” the male changeling rapidly blurted before Chrysalis could strike him again.

“Oh, wonderful idea, my drone! It doesn’t have to be this quick!”
Now Daybreaker openly laughed. Chrysalis was so adorable when she was angry.
“If you will not serve your Queen as drones, then you will serve as examples!”

“Cree!” The phoenix was done listening, apparently. The bird boldly swooped down toward the Queen, clawing at her eyes. A valiant but, alas, pointless attempt. She couldn’t hurt the Queen, of course.

“Aggrrrr!” Chrysalis roared in anger and used her magic to slam the bird against the tree trunk. Daybreaker found herself liking the Queen more with each second. Though, the bird’s attempt attributed to distracting Chrysalis for the drones,

“Ugh!” the Queen gasped, equally in pain and surprise. The drones had come prepared, judging by the rasp of a blade being drawn. One of the drones must have used Chrysalis’ distraction to their advantage, by diving underneath her and tearing a long slice in the Queen’s abdomen.
“Why you little...” Chrysalis attempted to chase after her drone, but only could make a few steps before her legs failed her. The Queen whimpered pathetically, falling quiet. Changeling poison at work.

Daybreaker sighed, frowning. Changelings were allowed to roam around the country just outside Canterlot. Only natural they returned to their usual way of resolving disputes. Changelings were treacherous and opportunistic creatures, it was only a matter of time before they started sensing the pony weakness.

Changelings were hardly the largest threat to them. Nightmare, admittedly, did a very good job of subduing the ponies; but in doing so she exposed herself—both of them, in fact.
Keeping the Elements close was a wise decision, but allowing them this much freedom was next to insane! This was certain to backfire in both of their faces.

The task of convincing her sister to take out their teeth would be a daunting, but necessary, one. They may not be dangerous at the moment, but they would have more than enough time to find another reason to rebel in the future. Unless they had no way of doing so.
She and her sister absolutely needed to talk. Right now.

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